Why Was He Picked?: After a night of sleep and a lot of research, I have some theories. The first one involves a three-headed monster of pass rushing LBs. Shawne Merriman is coming off of a devastating knee injury and Shaun Phillips showed last year that while he's still talented he needs Merriman on the other side to take the pressure off of him. Shaun Phillips also showed that while he's talented as the LOLB (going against the RT), he is too small to be effective going against a LT.
If you look at the elite pass-rushers around the league, they're lined up against the Left Tackle position. Merriman, Freeney, Suggs, etc. An elite pass-rusher has to show that he has the skills to keep his level of play high when battling an elite offensive lineman. Phillips did not show that. In this theory, English was drafted to give some rest to Merriman's knee and to provide depth for both OLB positions. This was a move to prevent 2008 from happening again. What was plainly obvious was that the defense died when Merriman left with his knee injury. If that happens again, or if Phillips gets hurt, we now have a backup plan that keeps our defense at a high level.
Leverage is also part of this. If we were going to the negotiating table with Merriman after 2008 and he could say "You don't have anybody else. You need me." then we'd have to give him whatever dollar amount he wanted. Now we can work with him to come to a more reasonable figure.
Another theory, and an interesting one, is that New England was in love with Larry English. There are rumors floating around that they were even trying to move up a few picks to ensure that they got him (so English was moving up the boards secretly). Once the Chargers took him off the board, the Patriots felt there was no other player worthy of a first-round pick and traded out of it. After the first day they still have a gaping hole at OLB that could end up hurting their pass rush in 2009. Supposedly, Belichek viewed English as his own version of Merriman. Now don't you feel a little better that English is a Charger?
Fan's View: Courtesy of Mad.Mike from Red And Black Attack, SB Nation's blog for fans of the Northern Illinois Huskies:
Larry English Scouting Report:
Larry English didn’t just win Defensive POY in the MAC last year, he won the MAC MVP overall for the past two years, the first ever defensive player to accomplish that. The best part is that the Vern Smith Trophy is voted by the coaches, so they have that much respect for Larry English and had to plan accordingly for him in every single game. This past year, he even won the award with a cast on his hand because he played with a few pins in his broken right thumb the entire year. In high school, English played all 4 years at the linebacker position, so dropping back is something he is used to.
Larry English has an absolute motor. He is not going to take a single play off during a game. Great overall strength. He is not only good rushing the passer, but I believe he is extremely underrated in stopping the run. Look in the dictionary and he is under the definition of a FOOTBAL PLAYER. Larry has extremely long arms and maintains good leverage on his opponents. Provides great leadership on the field and was team captain the last two years. Was extremely productive even when getting double and triple teamed these past couple years.
A little on the shorter side at just over 6’2". Will have to go to a team that will be able to find the right fit for English on their defense. Needs to work on agility and played minimal time away from the defensive line in pass coverage. I think Larry is a lot quicker than he is fast. Improved his 40 time since the combine from the 4.8 range to around 4.6 at his pro day to solidify his 1st round status.